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3rd June – Jean Turner

6 June, 2013

Jean started by telling us about one of her pet hates. (There were several others to follow.) It is demonstrators who spend the first 10 minutes giving their life stories. So it was straight in to the first topic. She teased us by not telling us what she was making, though she did ask whether we wanted to know in advance. Hampshire woodturners clearly enjoy being teased so we all went along with the game and failed miserably.
She had prepared a cylinder on which she shaped the top like a dome with a spigot on for chucking. Parting the top off at about 2/3 of the height with a thin parting tool and a saw left the base in the chuck to be slightly scooped out and a recess cut for the top.

Jean hollowing lid of Zulu hut

The top was then mounted via its spigot and hollowed out before reversing onto some nice home-made wooden jaws to have the spigot removed leaving a little pointed top. Still no correct guesses so Jean showed a finished version – a Zulu hut. The finished version had the dome decorated by pyrography to represent thatch.

Zulu hut with pyrograhy decorated roof
This was to be her next topic, but first a clever device combining off centre mounting and indexing, with due acknowledgement to Keith Holt. This was a plywood split ring with the centre offset. The outer diameter had been chosen to suit the wooden jaws in which it is mounted. A work item with diameter just less than the offset centre hole of the ring can be inserted and gripped as the gap closes when the jaws are tightened. Indexing marks on the ring can be lined up with a mark on the workpiece to allow it to be presented off centre in various orientations for interesting details to be cut. Anyone doing off centre faceplate work could well find it worthwhile to make such a jig. Phil was twisting Jean’s arm to write it up for the website.

Jean's wooden chuck and offset insert
Then on to pyrography – burning patterns onto wood for decoration or inscription. There are various models available commercially, notably from Peter Child, though they are generally quite expensive and have limitations of power (need to keep stopping to allow temperature to recover) or width of line that can be burned. Many people have made their own. One Graham Priddle made a monster from a welding machine and a toaster. Jean went on to describe what she had made but stressed that she accepted no liability if you decide to have a go.
A light dimmer connected to the mains supply feeds a transformer from a low voltage light set. The dimmer should be the type that uses a thyristor rather than a rheostat. The output from the transformer is connected via wires stripped from a kettle or iron cable (this has with heat resistant insulation) to 2 brass rods which pass through a plastic tube, spaced apart by drilled bungs in each end. The connections are made using the metal pieces out of an electric connector block. The heating element is a piece of nichrome wire up to 2 mm diameter which you can be bought e.g. from the Scientific Wire Company or stripped out of an electric heater. This is cut, bent to shape and connected to the other end of the tube. If the picture doesn’t make this clear, I’m sure Jean will help you.

Pyrography tool 2

I’d like to add my reservations to those of Jean’s. They make TV programmes from DIY disasters. If you think Watt is something you say when you don’t hear properly; that an ohm is a garden ornament with a pointed hat and a volt is what athletes do with a pole, then buy something from Peter Child. I have also heard that occasionally Aldi have bargain versions on their shelves. – Editor.

A brilliant evening from Jean rounded off by an object lesson in how to do a critique of members work on the gallery table; constructive without giving offence.
Dave Gibbard

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